Remains of Tennessee Soldier Killed in North Korean Prison Camp Identified

Wednesday, March 28, 2018 | 08:00am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder recognize the service and sacrifice of U.S. Army Corporal Thomas H. Mullins of Harriman, who went missing on November 2, 1950 while serving with Company L, 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the vicinity of Unsan, North Korea during the Korean War.  He was 18-years old.

After the war ended, a former prisoner of war explained to American authorities that Mullins died of malnutrition and possible pneumonia while being held at POW Camp 5 in Pyokdong, North Korea.  The Army declared Private First Class
Mullins dead on March 29, 1951, posthumously promoted him to Corporal and notified his family of their findings. 

On December 14, 1993, North Korea turned over 33 boxes of remains believed to be the remains of Americans from the Korean War. 

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used DNA from two cousins to positively identify the Harriman High School student on June 8, 2017.

 “As a Tennessee teenager, Tommy bravely answered a call to protect our freedom and gave the ultimate sacrifice in a prison camp far from home,” Haslam said.  “We pause to remember this young hero, the life he laid down for his country and the grieving family he left behind.”

“We are relieved that Corporal Mullins will finally be laid to rest and that his surviving family members will be able to offer him a reverent final resting place,” Grinder said.  “Family members are experiencing so many emotions that cover more than six decades of waiting and wondering, but closure has finally come.”

Mullins was born on March 29, 1932, declared deceased by the Army on March 29, 1951 and will be interred on March 29, 2018. 

Mullins will be interred at the Bay Pines National Cemetery at 10000 Bay Pines Boulevard North in St. Petersburg, Florida on Thursday, March 29 at 1:30 p.m. (EST). 

Haslam has declared a day of mourning and ordered flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, March 29 in honor of Corporal Mullin’s ultimate sacrifice. 

Mullins is survived by his cousins Patsy Tomkins of Seminole, FL Peggy Freeman of Salisbury, NC, Garland Mullins of Harriman, TN, Lisa and Steve Bailey of Plant City, FL, Daveanna Tomkins of Seminole, FL and David Tomkins of Philadelphia,

He is preceded in death by his father Oscar B., mother Gladys M. and brother Oscar Lee Mullins.